Watch This Space: Rachel Maddow Considering MSNBC Exit

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Rachel Maddow's future may not include maintaining her position as MSNBC's lodestar. The Daily Beast reports the anchor is giving serious consideration to different pastures once her current contract ends early next year.

According to six people familiar with the situation, Maddow, 48, is seriously considering leaving the network when her contract ends early next year as negotiations drag on and the temptation to take her brand elsewhere or start her own lucrative media company has grown.

Insiders who spoke with The Daily Beast said while the star host has occasionally entertained other offers in the past, she has in recent months increasingly expressed an openness to exiting when her deal ends, citing a desire to spend more time with her family and the toll of hosting a nightly program since 2008.

Maddow seems unlikely to jump to a rival television news network. Instead, she has been intrigued by opportunities in the streaming and podcasting space, which would allow her more freedom, time for her personal life and for other projects, people familiar with her thinking said.

That's a fair amount of smoke, even for a media story, which can often serve as a smokescreen. Maddow's recent moves, which include changing representation, suggest there could be major changes ahead for MSNBC's highest-profile star. She's anchored the 9 p.m. timeslot for 12 years — an eternity in cable news time — and is notorious for her long days and intense work ethic.

The Beast reports that Maddow is not likely to jump to a rival. Launching her own media company remains an option as she has the gravitas few others have carried over. From the network standpoint, retaining her service seems of paramount importance continuing her ability to draw ratings and the reality there is no in-house replacement capable of filling her shoes. Though, Chris Hayes, who proceeds Maddow nightly, has an excellent show.

Weighing that, it would seem leverage is heavily on Maddow's side. As it is on the side of anyone who is comfortable enough to walk away from what's been a long grind. It'd be really tough for MSNBC to spin losing its most popular personality as CNN plays its new streaming service and Fox continues to retain its massive audience. It's also tough to imagine the channel without Maddow, considering how synonymous she's become as face of the brand.

As the subject here would say: watch this space.